The Active Experience
From the tranquillity of sheltered island coves and lush alpine meadows to the rush of clear river waters and the imposing drama of sheer mountain rock faces, Greece is a land of great contrasts.
For these reasons, Greece is a natural host for a whole variety of activities that exercise the body or inspire the mind. Whether you are looking to de-tox the body with a yoga holiday or expand your mind with a creative workshop, you’re sure to return home with a glow to your skin and a sparkle in your eyes.
The increased demand for holidays that embrace the concept of improving health and wellness has prompted the development of this area of the tourist sector in recent years. There are numerous organisations and individual establishments based all over mainland Greece and on the islands that cater for most requirements.
Where to go depends greatly on the type of activity you want to do. From the range of holidays waiting for you in Greece you could opt enjoy the peace provided by creative and spiritual retreats on the islands, or connect with the elements on mainland Greece where forests and mountains offer winter skiing and summer horse riding and walking. The only thing that is certain is that the possibilities are boundless.
Yoga and Holistic Holidays
The health effects of yoga are well catalogued and the discipline has become increasingly popular over the last decade as an activity that strengthens the body, clears the mind and offers an antidote to the stresses of modern day living.
There are many yoga centres in Greece offering classes for all levels and situated in beautiful locations. If you are looking for an oasis of calm and tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle, then look no further.
Increasingly popular is the combination of yoga with other activities, such as exercise workouts, hiking or kayaking, to provide an enhanced level of physical fitness.
Holism is in fact derived from the Greek term holos (meaning ‘whole’). The principle of holism was succinctly summarised by Aristole when he asserted that, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”
As such a holistic holiday focuses not just on one active element (ie yoga) but treats it as part of a whole philosophy (including atmosphere, food and alternative therapies). There are several centres based on the mainland or on various islands offering holistic based holidays.
For those wishing to further explore themes of health and creativity, Greece has a number of workshop orientated holidays offering guests a chance to take a journey of self-fulfilment, investigating personal relationships with people and the natural environment. An example is the Zarka Centre on Evia.
Greece also ideal locations to immerse yourself in creative pursuits to spark the imagination and invigorate the mind. It’s hard not to be inspired in a country that has such a rich history of art and classic literature.
The bombardment of natural light and colour, the whitewashed traditional Greek houses and colourful local characters, make Greece an excellent place to explore your visual instincts. There are several organisations offering art, sculpture and photography orientated holidays and workshops.
Home of many classic works of literature, seeped in history and legend, alive with character and adventure, Greece is a land that offers a creative setting fit to inspire the writer’s imagination.
Exploring Greece on horseback is an activity that affords an excellent way to explore the countryside in harmony with nature. Horse riding in Greece also carries with it a certain sense of the magic and adventure of this land of legends, where centaurs were said to have inhabited its thick forests.
There are many options for those wishing to make horse riding the focus of their holiday, with itineraries that offer days in the saddle and nights spent in guesthouses and cosy hotels in rural villages.
The lush vegetation of the Pelion peninsula provides excellent horse riding country, and the spectacular scenery of the islands make Kefalonia and Crete popular equine based holiday destinations too.
Although not the first activity that springs to mind when thinking of Greece, in recent decades skiing has witnessed a spectacular rise in popularity among the domestic population. At present, 19 modern ski resorts operate on the mainland, which has led to the development of a flourishing winter tourism industry.
Many of these ski resorts offer beginner and intermediate programmes, and most ski resorts have further information on courses and activities. There are many places to buy winter sports gear and most ski resorts offer equipment rental.